Just Cause is a franchise which instantly brings to mind images of anarchy, destruction and hijacking planes mid-flight. Few ongoing series embraced the sheer wanton destruction it offered, and its third instalment offers more of the same. If you’re after free roaming ludicrous destruction this is a solid choice, but be warned the 3 has picked up a few bad habits from modern gaming.
The story is simple as you would expect. Set several years after the second game, Rico returns to his homeland only to find it under the iron grip of a despotic governor. Explosions ensue. In fairness, while simple, the plot proves to be cheesily engaging thanks to its characters and the new opportunities it offers to blow things up. Strongholds lined with explosive barrels are always a joy to annihilate, and Avalanche have put significant time into a few new toys. Along with the return of the hookshot (which can be used to tether and drag objects/vehicles/enemy soldiers together at breakneck speed), Rico is equipped with a wingsuit and jet propelled magnetic devices which can turn nearby junk into land bond rockets.
The world itself, while a little samey, is utterly beautiful and with the sheer variety of vehicles you can steal, you’re unlikely to get bored of it for the first few hundred hours. What’s more is that the gunplay proves to be thoroughly engaging if a little reliant upon locking onto targets, and is well suited to running and running between points of cover. With the PC port offering no end of settings menus, this is extremely friendly to high and low end machines alike, but it’s also here that you might start to notice a few problems. While bugs are a common occurrence in open world games, a few frustratingly common ones plague this PC port and hinder your progress. In in particular, certain vehicles have the notorious habit of arriving on fire and promptly exploding, making one of the key mechanics of the game unreliable at the best of times.
Worse still, Ubisoft inspired open-world trope is in full force here short of the radio towers. This turns many side-missions into unengaging fetch quests or one man races, bloating the game with unwanted upgrade grinding. This might have been fine were it not for the fact half the weapons upgrades are locked away behind these missions, forcing you to play them out in order to reach the genuinely fun moments.
Just Cause 3 is fun but very flawed and your enjoyment will heavily depend upon how much needless busywork you can stomach. It’s still worth a look, but it’s not the smash hit many were hoping for.JUST CAUSE 3 / DEVELOPER: AVALANCHE STUDIOS / PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX / PLATFORM: PC, XBOX ONE, PLAYSTATION 4 / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW